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Nioh 2 - How to beat Saito Yoshitatsu

In Saito Yoshitatsu, has your Nioh 2 protagonist met their match? Here’s how to beat them at their own game.

While it’s difficult to face up to a foe who can use all the same tools as you in battle, there are a few dirty tricks you can pull to even the odds and make the fight hilariously simple.

Nioh 2 - How to beat Saito Yoshitatsu

Below is a video from my first blind runthrough of Nioh 2, where I cheese the ever-loving snot out of this fight. In the grand scheme of the game, this mission is one of the tougher gauntlets, but the boss at the end is exploitable.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the boss matches your weapon setup, but this guide is based around them using a Katana and Odachi.

Saito Yoshitatsu makes use of similar skills to the player character, as well as Yokai Shift, which is a good change of pace from the last couple of bosses like the Yatsu-no-Kami and Kamaitachi.

In the Yokai Realm, they can use different Yokai Shifts based on the weapon they’re using. The pressure of the Brute Yokai Shift is very difficult to deal with in conjunction with the stamina regeneration penalties in the Yokai world, but there are ways to get past it outside of your Ki Pulse game being on point.

The cheesy strategy to beat Saito Yoshitatsu is to shoot them with a hand cannon - which you should have gotten your hands on by now. Even if your stats aren’t specced to take full advantage of the weapon, they still do the job superbly. A bow or rifle can also work, but you need to be more accurate.

In the boss arena, back off to find some space then line up a shot as quickly as possible. Body shots with a hand cannon blast through their human form’s stamina extremely fast, while doing a ton of damage to boot.

A couple of consecutive shots should leave them open to a stagger and grapple, but a headshot will drop them completely. Once you factor in the free stabs from your grapples, the 5-8 shots you have in reserve should deal with at least 50-60% of Saito Yoshitatsu’s health bar.

For the rest of the battle you’ll have to square up the old fashioned way, but you can still spam down the last nub with your own Yokai Shift.

Fighting Saito fair and square is a tougher proposition. If they combo some of their stronger attacks, it can overwhelm you very quickly.

They shift between two modes with different attacking patterns and different elements. In my experience they used a Katana mode with water, while the Odachi they used was fire.

When using the Odachi, they will enter Brute Yokai Shift in the Yokai Realm, while the Katana triggers Phantom Yokai Shift.

When Saito attacks with normal melee combos, it’s best to lurk on the edge of their range and dash in to counterattack once their combo is finished. The majority of their basic combos are safe to punish, but there are some attacks you need to watch out for.

In the Katana moveset, steer well clear of when they sheath their sword. They’re about to do an Ia slash with huge range and damage. When they put that sword away, sprint or roll as far back as you can.

Secondly, where they raise their Katana above their head and it glows blue, two water shockwaves are incoming. If you block these, you’ll take damage through your guard, so dodge roll sideways to avoid harm.

Finally for the Katana, you can block the Guardian Spirit abilities they use with your sword, but try to stay away from any AoE puddles.

Also, you need to dodge backwards away from any black-and-white fuzzy attacks, because these are unblockable.

As for the Odachi, the moveset is similar. Block or maneuver around basic melee combos, dodge elemental attacks to avoid AoE, then dash in to chip away at the end of their combos.

This goes for any other weapons they might use. Lurk out of range, shoot them in the head, chip away at the end of their combos, then spam them down with Yokai Shift.

Once defeated they can drop a Mortal Soul Core, which can be used to increase the effects of your other favourites.

Here's our list of Nioh 2 boss guides!

For more on Nioh 2, here are the best weapons we've seen in the game so far.

About the Author

James Billcliffe avatar

James Billcliffe

Guides Editor

James suffers so you don't have to. Whether it's raging so hard at Sekiro that he bit his own hand, or confronting a 20-year fear of zombies to complete Resident Evil 2 eight times, he creates guides and reviews for the biggest blockbuster games.

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